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  1. Suzanne Holway-Kitchen

    Dear Jean, Heidi & Barrett Family, June 7, 2012

    My heart and thoughts are with you in dealing with this sadness in your lives. The memories of life and times I experienced in the Barrett household have flooded my mind the past several days and late evenings as I find it difficult to believe that we have attained mid-life and have to deal with such great loss , the passing of a parent who was bigger than life itself and ever present in our lives. The years have passed all too quickly but fortunately you have a lifetime of memories given the closeness and immensity of your family. I pray and hope the memories will sustain you, as my memories are incredibly vivid and wonderful of your family and father. Your family has shared in a lot of celebrations, trips and holiday times together through the years and generations of offspring. It truly feels like yesterday thinking about fun times in the Barrett Household in West Acton.
    Your father was a soft spoken man who generally spoke when he had something important to say. I remember his corn cob pipe, his gruff kind independent temperament and enjoyment and acceptance of a bustling home filled with the energy and activity of usually a dozen people coming and going. He was down to earth perhaps due to his choice of Jean as his wife and upbringing on Nantucket a rugged rural childhood. His intelligence was apparent in all of his hobbies and professional pursuits. Paul was a skilled engineer in the field of defense contracting who had numerous jobs through the years in Massachusetts more than likely due to his need to be doing something he enjoyed that meshed with his true grit personality .He had so many interests and the ability to relax amid utter chaos ( a true family man). I remember your father’s garage which was filled with a menagerie of different gadgets and parts to everything imaginable, some car, moped, scooters, motor bikes, lawn mower or appliance that was in the midst of being taken apart or repaired. The family usually had an array of Volkswagons in the yard and my personal favorite was the little love bug and trips taken in the Volkswagon Bus. If my memory serves me correctly he had a Papa chair in the family room near the fireplace that was a soft red leather cushion and later on covered in one of Jeans home sewn fabrics. He smoked a corn cob pipe of rich smelling tobacco . He tended to bee hives and produced honey and other bees wax delights. He enjoyed making root beer and help tend the vast family garden. Paul, Mr. Barrett was an intelligent engineer and could tackle anything that needed fixing. He thoroughly enjoyed camping and family outings, nature bound experiences and was thus very involved in boy scouting activities mostly in a leadership capacity with his sons and always camping with the family of six children and their entourage of pets who ventured everywhere together in that small but efficient camper . Paul developed a real interest in woodworking and was masterful with his lathe and scroll saw. He fashioned beautifully designed clocks for family members, furniture, lamps and also created very intricate scroll saw designs, one which he gave me of a schooner ship and lighthouse as a thank you following a visit to Maine and short stay in his camper at my home. I had a chance to visit Paul and Jean in Goshen and was impressed with his rustic but charming woodworking shed.
    I can’t imagine life as a child and teen without the memorable and frequent visits to the Barrett Family home. They were always such a fun loving, welcoming and gracious family and the home was filled with kid and adult friendly activities day and night. The family dinner table which was enormous and rustic always had a sumptuous spread of food, my personal favorite the family” Goolaush”. Jean gave organ lessons sewed up a storm and knitted amazing sweaters. Jean and Paul complimented each other in a way that I understand now is rare and incredibly special. They lived life to the fullest and I was touched by the devotion and respect Paul and Jeanne had for one another. I chatted with Paul at a recent graduation party and learned that he attended all of Jeans organ services the past several years on Sundays. Of course Jean and Paul were active in the church I attended as a child and became active in their retirement town of Goshen as well. They are such genuinely friendly folk who enjoyed good clean living and the fruits of their labor together. Their retirement home in Goshen is cozy and has the simple comforts which extoll a good life. The home is tucked into the slope of a hill with an array of projects evident portraying a retirement life suitable to a happy productive couple. Your father had great ingenuity and determination. Paul had a wood boiler furnace and I am sure earth friendly gadgetry everywhere. Jean is a fabulous cook and every morsel is homemade, from rose hip jam to delicious rum balls at Christmas time. The Barrett clan stitched up their own animals and kids, had a menagerie of pets including a horse and a glass viewing bee hive at the head of their dining room table , made most of their own clothes , had extensive vegetable gardens, traveled in summer to the grandparents family homes on the Cape or Nantucket , across country in the camper and created a feeling of richness in living life as intended.
    The Barrett home was a treasure trove of edible delights throughout the year and Paul enjoyed the talents of his wife’s culinary talents as well as his daughter’s comparable cooking talents. They passed on many fine family traditions, woodworking, scouting interests and leadership roles , a respect for the outdoors and hiking, rootbeer, gardening, sewing projects, tinkering , family camping trips, knitting, bountiful gardens, family values, family work weekends , church affiliations and civic practices, frugal smart living a healthy respect for education etc. etc. Their home in Goshen suited Paul and Jean to a tea and its proximity to family and ties to a more” Life Free or Die State of Mind” not to mention the tax free exempt nature of NH living. Their home has always been graced with love, activity and a back to earth philosophy of life, living simply, healthy and heartedly. Paul and Jean never put on airs. Paul was a character who dressed as he wished, rather casually and hated dawning a suit & tie, unless someone was getting married or buried. Paul spoke with honesty, intelligence and candor about his viewpoints and life. Jean wore dresses she had hand sewn and the seamstress skills were passed onto all the girls as they sewed up their own prom dresses and wedding dresses. Paul and Jean were also a stitch to watch when Jean was clearly upset. Paul was tall and Jean petite ( Cricket befits her as a nickname ). Paul would laugh at Jean and purposely and playfully rile her up, even pick her up. Jean (Cricket) would look up at Paul, tilt her head to the side, with a look of disbelief and frustration, knowing he heard every word, shake her head and walk away. Jean has shared her feisty adorable discontent and Paul had understood. Their viewpoints were conveyed strongly but respectfully. It was always cordial but comical to the observer a comfortable entertaining exchange among parents and dear friends.
    Their home was spacious with a full finished day-light basement which was both a family recreational room for birthday parties and newly- wed children . It had a root beer bar area in lieu of any alcohol . Behind the barn board basement family room area and past the huge family freezer closet to the left of the stairs was Paul’s woodshop area . The home had a lovely rock garden area that sat on a steep hillside. Family weddings, showers, graduation parties and cast parties took place there over the years. Exchange students and the children as young couples stayed on in the home. They created a dug pool and then an above ground pool area. They built a lovely patio deck. They had an enormous kitchen and family dining area that fed into a lovely family room area which wrapped around to the right into the laundry room area. I seem to remember a tunnel of clothes leading one into the guest bathroom area due to a laundry shoot and enormous family. The upstairs area had 5 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a cedar closet. The master bedroom was set up as the sewing room and immense. The Grandfather ( Jean’s father Hopf) had his own room when he visited which later became the room for exchange students a Japanese student Yoko still a member at large of the Barrett’s family. They had a formal family room with another fireplace area off of the formal dining room area with oriental carpets and beautifully carved Victorian oak furniture cushioned in blue velvet which adorned the room where the organ lessons were given. The family lived in Newton Mass early on and moved to W Acton when the family started to grow larger. Six children in all Heidi, Holly, Hillary, Heather, Lincoln and Lowell grew and flourished in the Barrett household and in time produced 14 grandchildren and news to me 1 great grand -child . The years passed all too quickly, as Paul and Jean were involved in all aspects of their children’s lives and grandchildren’s lives. Paul and Jean participated in all aspects of their children’s lives. Paul was an amazing devoted man and produced an amazing brood of children with many similar interests and talents as their parents . He lives on and will always be a part of many aspects of his offspring’s lives . I am sure the memories will live on in your hearts , in the many handcrafted creations and furnishings in everyone’s homes and in time the pain of this loss will turn into incredibly fond memories and perhaps laughter.
    My memories are vivid and I am sure yours will help cushion this in time. Paul had great spunk and lived a great admirable life . He will always be with and among you all. It was an incredibly rewarding life given the choices he made with his time on Earth. My father was also connected to the Engineering profession , loved to visit and chat with Paul and the Barrett Homestead . They both were devoted family men , loved to tinker, laugh at life and both had big families of 6 children each. Dad enjoyed seeing what Paul was up to and has fond memories of white water canoeing on the Allagash with the boys scouts and Paul . The two would make their way into the kitchen to tease , Jean ( Jean always happy for the visit and full of giggles and laugher ) and surely sample some of her delightful cooking . Everyone enjoyed the Barrett couple they were a feisty and fun loving . My Dad remembers Paul’s heart troubles when he first experienced them in Acton over 30 years ago and he was amazed that Paul tackling a stone wall project shortly after his surgery. Just last year Paul and Jean visited my parents in Maine and stayed overnight in their camper . They kept busy and incredibly productive . That make hay while the sun shines attitude, daily productive determination, good living and love of family gave Paul the gift of time long after his first heart attack that was sadly taken Saturday June 2nd. He certainly lived life to the fullest and I was touched by the devotion Paul and Jean had for one another and the feeling of family that they both instilled in all the Barrett Clan . I feel incredibly fortunate to have known somewhat intimately the Barrett Family and Paul. Unfortunately it is time to say goodbye and let the memories do the living for him . I know he will always be with you and be watching over each and every one of you in ways yet to be realized.
    We feel your loss and our hearts are with you in memories that give you comfort. We celebrate Paul Barrett and the devoted loving family man and husband he was.
    Love to all …………….Fondly Always
    Prayers and Blessings to your family from ours…….
    Suzanne Holway –Kitchen , Sadie Cricket, IvyAnna Sterling, Mark Jerry
    All the Holway Family
    Especiallly Bill and Ellen Holway
    Julie Codyer Holway

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